Gary Player was very critical of the current priority hierarchy of the game of golf in a recent interview with Reuters. Among his talking points were the purses of current professional golf and the difficulty that courses have begun to present to amateur players, which has led to fewer rounds being played in his view.
“Professional golf is so popular now and Tiger Woods coming back has really given it a shot in the arm,” Player said. “And the Ryder Cup was fantastic. There are so many big events, big attendances, big sponsors, massive money for the players, but what we need is to build the courses for the average man.
“The pro is not that important. It’s the average person who comes to the course, to enjoy the game and have fun. That is key.
“Golf courses need flatter greens, wider fairways and not so many bunkers to make them [amateurs] enjoy the game. Amateur rounds are down because they are too expensive and too slow.
“There must be no restrictions on the weekend golfer. Let them enjoy the round. There used to be the long putter, that was then banned. To hang with that, let them use it.”
Gary Player Amateurs must be king to grow golf – https://t.co/qlybZlQu99
Amateur golfers must become a priority to keep the sport growing even though the professional game is a multi-million-dollar industry that is getting stronger, Gary Player told Reuters in a frank discou… pic.twitter.com/IEoikT4SQc
— Bri Shan (@brishanusa) November 5, 2018
Player took on technology as well, which he credits for only widening the gap between the elite Tour pros and the average club golfer.
“We want (amateurs) to come out and enjoy themselves,” he said. “We’ve done too many things to chase them away from the game instead of getting them into the game.
“The equipment, in my eyes, is ruining golf… There is so much emphasis being put on length right now. All I hear is fathers telling me how far their sons hit the ball.
“We saw in the Ryder Cup, Europe annihilated America because they had to hit the ball straight. American golf is wide fairways and long hitting. The rest of the world is narrower and straight hitting. Straight hitting is important. But the old cliche still holds true, ‘You drive for show and you put for dough.’
“Putting is the most important thing. A short putt is the same value as a 350-yard drive.”